Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Living in Unconditional Love

                                           LIVING IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE 

Are you already living a positive and joyful life? Wonderful! You're already living in the much heralded Age of Aquarius.  Or, more likely, are you one of the rest of us who would like to spend more time in this transformative state? If so, keep reading.


Chatham County readers (like everyone these days) have been experiencing a lot of stress and therefore have continued requesting articles on stress management. And I've been writing about how to conquer our very own Stress Monster. (By the way, humor is one of the stress antidotes.)


But – this is important – a life of Unconditional Love is more than just stress reduction.  We actually want to feel happy, healthy and joyful, not just free of negative stress. So today I'm writing about the path to this positive life. So this is, really, the last article where I will mention the book "Love for No Reason" by Marcie Shimoff.  This is a book that should be read slowly, chapter by chapter, so you can integrate the findings into your own life. Over the last several years Marcie has interviewed the top authorities on Happiness and Unconditional Love in order to produce this comprehensive work with a great deal of information about multiple approaches to a truly positive and blessed life. I wanted to help my readers by discussing and summarizing the steps on this pathway so you will be more likely to find joy in your lives.  I can personally attest to the fact that each time I find myself on the path to Unconditional Love I experience a more positive and joyful mood. So, dear readers, you are actually helping me experience this life myself. One of my most cherished roles in life is to help others deal with their problems, to deal with their pain and find themselves in a more joyful lifestyle. It's the part of Unconditional Love that involves compassion and giving to others.  I’ll share a few powerful words: "Give, and it shall be given to you…For with the same measure that you measure it shall be measured to you again." (Luke, 6.38) This is not just a Christian philosophy but is shared by all other cultures. Buddha, for example writes that "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened."


As you read through the last five articles about this book please note that they are arranged in sequential order to help you advance to the full state of Unconditional Love. This is not to say that you cannot experience Unconditional Love at any time. This beautiful and extraordinary state is in fact a part of the universal cosmos which can be accessed by anyone with love and an open heart.  The prerequisites mentioned in the early articles, being grounded and feeling safe as well as experiencing health and vitality, are positive and productive life states which you will want to experience on your journey away from stress and toward oneness and bliss.  Loving yourself is a particularly difficult concept for us. Many people are so afraid of being selfish or narcissistic that they actively avoid self-love and maintain a critical self concept preoccupied with personal mistakes and failures.  They fail to understand that you must love yourself to love your neighbor as yourself. An intrinsic part of the Unconditional Love process is maintaining an open heart. Many spiritual and religious leaders now feel that our culture has overemphasized the importance of the brain in understanding and perceiving reality. Research has demonstrated the awesome power of heart-based intelligence in helping us cope with the new world as it is formed around us.  Practicing and maintaining this transformative life state will help you love and live within this higher level.


One last thought.  I want to address the person who is dismissing this advice, grumbling "Who has time for this anyway?  Who has time to worry about love when we have to worry about our jobs, keeping gas in our car, our lawns mowed, our bills paid… worry, worry, worry." Think about it and realize that the worried life is a life of stress, depression and diminishing returns.  Yes you do have time. We all can find some time even if it's five minutes every day to read a few pages of the book, pray or meditate, smell a rose, hug a family member, somehow participate in this state of Unconditional Love. After all, love is your job description in this life. Outgoing love means incoming love and incoming love means outgoing love. Take the time; you are worth it!